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Your festival stall : 9 steps to get ready

Festivals are as popular as ever, and a great opportunity for catering businesses to spread brand awareness and of course make sales in the summer months. You won’t find a better atmosphere than at the heart of a music festival, as you not only cater to a vibrant customer base but network with fellow creatives and merchants from all kinds of industries.

With such huge crowds, organising on-site catering for these kinds of events can become complicated. Customers are sensitive to things like queues, food and drink prices and order turnaround times which can affect your likelihood of making sales.

So, how can you provide a top-notch festival stall to festival-goers? How can you set up mobile ordering? What tools should you use?

Find all the answers in this article.

 1. Choose the right festivals for you

You probably know the most popular summer festivals already, whether it’s Glastonbury, Wireless or Download—there are many options to consider. But in most cases, it’s better not to dive into the deep end too quickly.

It’s a good idea to learn the ropes of smaller scale-events first. This will be less pressure, and you’ll be more likely to handle demand, not having to dig too deep into your wallet for unlimited stock, staff and equipment. Your decision should be based less on size, and more on targeting your specific customer segment that your products and services are most likely to attract—make it about the people, not the venue.

2. Determine the necessary budget for your stand 

How much you’ll end up paying and whether or not you’ll make a profit is up to a number of different factors. From the scale and popularity of the festival, your stall type, power requirements and where at the festival you’ve set up shop, to staff, equipment, travel costs, stocks and more—there’s a whole lot of wriggle room. Generally, you’ll be looking at anywhere between £300 to a whopping £10,000 to spend on the whole setup.

It’s important to make sure you have the budget to do the basics and that your creativity fits well within the boundaries. You can always get in touch with the festival organisers for a ballpark figure of what you’d be looking at and any offers or discounts they can offer.

Bear in mind, making a profit on the day doesn’t have to be the end-all-be-all. You may just want to do some on-the-ground market research and get networking. This is not something that’ll reflect in your bottom line but is an invaluable investment for the future of your business.

3. Implement discounts 

People like free stuff, especially festival-goers who are actively on the outlook for food and entertainment. It’s the perfect incentive to get potential visitors to come to your stall and a great way to create some buzz around your offering. From mini cheese cubes to a free demo or eye-catching discounts—play around with what you can realistically offer for free and hit the brakes when you see enough demand until customers start to sparse out again. It’s a sure-fire way to get people interested in your business and any future products you put out in the future. Whether you’re pointing them to your brick and mortar, your website or social media—proving your product/service value is key.

4. Have a dedicated point of sale solution

Much like pop-up stores, festivals are commonly used to get some hands-on market research before launching a fully-fledged brick and mortar business. It’s a great way to test your food and products in the real world, get some qualitative and quantitative insight from your customer base and find ways to tweak and improve anything from your very product to your branding and pricing. Dedicated festival POS technology allows you to automate the whole process.

Tracking sales, stock and business performance is more than just a one-person task and getting the right tools to forecast future demands is a game-changer.

With Point of Sale Pro by SumUp, your POS software and hardware can be scaled up to support stadiums, venues, festivals and multi-chain businesses with dedicated features that streamline your services.

  • Lightning-fast checkout 

  • Flexible orders

  • Slick hardware

  • Real-time data and reports

  • Multi-user access

Once you’re ready to go, you can speed up checkout and reduce queues with simplified orders and payments. Reduce wastage and keep track of your stock with real-time data and reports too, so your business can stay on top of its game.

Discover the POS for your Festival stall

5. Offer mobile ordering

If you’re selling food, you’ll get your competitive edge with how you deliver your offering. From allowing festival-goers to find your stall via recommended listings on their mobile-ordering platform, choosing a drop-off location, or selecting a collection slot, you’ll be able to cater to customers who not only visit your stall, but anyone roaming around. The order fulfillment process is automated, which means less stress on your plate, a quicker turnaround and all you have to focus on is whipping up the food and delivering it to your customers.

6. Be creative

Much like the creativity needed to create your products, you’ll want to make sure your stall is the perfect representation of your brand. Look to create a common theme, recognisable across channels, so if your website uses a particular colour combo for example—try and recreate the aesthetics in real life for some brand consistency.

There are many ways to attract customers, whether it’s string lights, music or even adding some extra seating to attract festival-goers looking for a time-out from all the excitement, giving you plenty of time and opportunity to capitalise on that.

7. Pin what is popular

Depending on when and where you’re setting up your stall, see if you can find out what previous festival stalls performed particularly well last time around and see if there are any takeaways that could help you. Perhaps it’s an increasing interest in vegan alternatives or a big sports tournament is coming—try and find ways to hype up an event in a way that relates to your offering.

8. Be organised

Before you set up, there are a few administrative tasks you’ll need to take care of first. Requirements will vary depending on the festival in question, but make sure you’ve looked into the following:

  • You’re registered to a local authority

  • Have a hygiene rating and training to evidence your ability to handle food with care

  • Health and safety paperwork for risk assessments

  • Food Safety Management systems for due diligence based upon the principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point)

9. Make it count

There is plenty to gain from setting up a vendor stall at a festival, be it profit, insight or connections, but getting set up usually takes months of preparation. Ensuring you’ve got your documentation, your branding, stocks and equipment on point will go a long way in ensuring your stall will be a success.

To make your internal organization as operational as possible, opting for a modern POS solution like Point of Sale Pro by SumUp is the most intuitive option. 

Discover the POS for your Festival stall

Mathis Jean-Gilles